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When is the 4th Amendment Applied – Adandoned Property

Many of the most recent blog posts have been related to the 4th Amendment and its applicability. Once again, the 4th Amendment protects the rights of US citizens relating to unlawful searches and seizures. As discussed, there are 10 categories of applicability for invoking 4th Amendment rights. The fourth category is identified as abandoned property.

Personal property has an expectation of privacy. However, once property is abandoned by definition – to give up completely – there is no longer an expectation of privacy. For example, trash left on the curb for pick-up is considered abandoned property and thus has no expectation of privacy and is free to be searched by anyone and at any time.

It is important, however, to understand the difference between voluntary abandonment and involuntary abandonment. Voluntary abandonment is described as knowingly and willingly giving up property. Involuntary abandonment is forced abandonment of property. State v. Solt (2001) found that property must be voluntarily abandoned in order for a legal search and seizure. If property was not voluntarily abandoned, then searched and seized, the 4th Amendment is applicable depending on the situation.

St. Louis, Missouri, Search & Seizure Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been product of an unlawful search and seizure or have questions regarding what stands for a reasonable search and seizure, our attorneys can help. Call Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. to schedule a free consultation 24/7.